by Megan Tambio
Last week, model Essena O’Neil posted a 15-minute video dismantling her own seemingly picture- perfect life on Instagram. The 19-year-old, a social media star with thousands of followers, admitted that the seemingly normal pictures she posted were often paid product placements that took hours to shoot. She tearfully spoke about how she was an insecure kid who always thought if she could look ‘perfect’, she’d be happy, and how her career didn’t make her feel any better.
The overwhelming Internet response was predictable: What is she complaining about? Yes, this may seem like very First World problems, but that’s missing the point.
Numerous studies have shown that with the advent of social media, we’ve become a lot more full of ourselves. This may not seem like a big deal, but when researchers find that an entire generation is more focused on material gain than anything else, there’s a problem. We’re the generation that allowed the Kardashian Klan to be a thing.
After a fairly clear-eyed criticism of the emptiness of her career, Essena then asked fans to give her money so that she could …. eh, she’ll figure out what exactly later. The last-minute plea is bizarre and contradicts the rest of the video, but it shows that living on a screen affects your sense of entitlement.
All hope is not lost though. The solution is frustratingly simple — go outside. Talk to someone. Volunteer and connect with human beings in real time, and real space. Search the Causes directory at giive.org for nonprofits in your area that help you live outside your Instagram.